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Dean Parker

Dean Parker’s † Biography

Last Updated:
11/03/2021, 11:11 am
Screenwriter, playwright, journalist and political commentator
Arts Foundation Laureate 2013
Dean Parker was a successful New Zealand screenwriter and playwright. He has worked as a writer for much of his life and been prominent in his union, the New Zealand Writer's Guild.

Dean Parker grew up in Napier, New Zealand. In his 20s, he spent time in London where he began a long involvement in socialist and Irish republican movements. He has worked as a writer for much of his life and been prominent in his union, the New Zealand Writers Guild. On his return to New Zealand he began writing for radio in 1973. By 1975, five of his radio plays had hit the airwaves - including drama Smack, which doubled as his stage debut. Seven more radio plays followed before 1980. His first television work was an episode of mixed-flatting comedy Buck House, and two contributions to anthology series 30 Minute Theatre. In 1978 his first screen adaptation for The Ngaio Marsh Theatre was the first Kiwi TV drama to screen in the United States.

Dean Parker's plays include The Man That Lovelock Couldn't Beat, Baghdad, Baby!, Midnight in Moscow, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem and adaptations of Great Expectations, The Trial, The Hollow Men and Other People's Wars.

Amongst his screenwork, he has won awards in New Zealand for tele-play Share the Dream (starring Joel Tobeck), and co-writing successful big-screen comedy Came a Hot Friday, 1985 film centred around two conmen in small town New Zealand, which was adapted from the novel by Ronald Hugh Morrieson.

His theatrical CV includes The Feds, Two Fingers From Frank Zappa. He has also written many radio plays, among them Joe Stalin Knew My Father and Engels F: A History of the Ould Sod.

Dean's best-known television work is Welsh-Kiwi rugby tale Old Scores, which he co-wrote with Greg McGee. He has also worked on episodes of police drama Mortimer's Patch, Betty's Bunch, and documentary Just Slightly, A People Apart: The Irish in NZ.

Dean also contributes to the New Zealand Listener and the New Zealand Herald.

Dean Parker died 14 April 2020